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Racker, H. (1953). A Contribution to the Problem of Counter-Transference. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 34:313-324.

(1953). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 34:313-324

A Contribution to the Problem of Counter-Transference

Heinrich Racker, Ph.D.


The significance given to counter-transference and the importance attached to the corresponding problems depends on the significance given to the role of the analyst in the cure. This role is considered as a twofold one. First, he is the interpreter of the unconscious processes, and secondly, he is the object of these same processes. An immediate consequence of this is the twofold role of the counter-transference: it may intervene and interfere, firstly, inasmuch as the analyst is an interpreter, and secondly, inasmuch as he is the object of the impulses. As regards the former the counter-transference may help, distort, or hinder the perception of the unconscious processes. Or again, the perception may be correct but the percept may provoke neurotic reactions which impair his interpretive capacity. As regards the latter—the analyst as object—the counter-transference affects his manner and his behaviour which in turn influence the image the analysand forms of him. Through the analyst's interpretations, the form he gives them, his voice, through every attitude he adopts towards the patient, the latter perceives (consciously or unconsciously) the psychological state he happens to be in—not to speak of the debatable question of telepathic perception. Thus the counter-transference, by affecting the analyst's understanding and behaviour, influences the patient and especially his transference, that is to say, the process on which the transformation of his personality and object-relations so largely depend.

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